By Jonathan Smith, Managing Editor
A Chapel planning team has been organized to look into adding cultural diversity, a missing element of the program, said Brad Carter, coordinator of Chapel.
“One of the big responses we had last year in our evaluations and focus groups was from some of our African-American students who said, ‘We don’t know any of the songs that you sing,’ and, ‘It’s just white church every day,'” Carter said.
Carter said he agreed that Chapel not only does not normally incorporate students from different ethnicities but also students from rural backgrounds.
“Our Chapel is largely white, suburban, Church of Christ worship, and because of that, we miss connecting with some of our students who come from different places,” Carter said.
Dr. Jerry Taylor, member of the team and assistant professor of Bible, missions and ministry, said the group, which is made up of faculty and students, does not have definite plans yet, and they are still in prayer about the direction they want to go.
Taylor referenced the university’s slogan, “Change the World,” as a reason for incorporating more diversity.
“We have the world here in our midst,” Taylor said. “There’s no better way to bring the Christian mission to light.”
He said the team is looking to take small steps this semester toward incorporating more diversity. The changes could be as simple as having people of different cultures reading scripture or leading singing.
“The intention is not to implement this in an abrasive way,” Taylor said.
Carter said the team began because of a $10,000 grant from the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship.
Part of the grant was used to send Carter, Dr. Jack Reese, dean of the College of Biblical Studies, and Ryan Porche, senior worship ministry major from Abilene, to a conference on worship at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., where they got the idea to incorporate more diversity.